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encompassed there is also an appearance as of beautiful rainbows formed round about it; this phenomenon is exhibited as soon as ever the sacred repository of the Word is opened. That all and every particular truth of the Word shines with a bright light, was made manifest to me from this circumstance, that when any single verse out of the Word is transcribed on paper, and the paper is thrown up into the air, the paper itself shines with a bright light of the same form with that in which it was cut out; so that spirits have the power of producing by the Word a variety of bright lucid figures, and also of birds and fishes” (T. C. R. 209). Without impropriety we may imagine these pretty appearances to be used for the instruction of children and simple-minded spirits, to impress them with the sanctity and power of God's holy Book. It is to be noted, however, that in the heavens the Word exists in its internal sense, and not in the literal form which it wears on earth, to accommodate it to our natural capacities. Nothing of this is known to the angels, “not even what a single expression proximately signifies, much less the names of countries, cities, rivers, and persons, which occur so frequently in the historical and propbetical parts of the Word. They have only an idea of the things signified by the words and names; ... thus they have a perception of things spiritual and celestial, altogether abstracted from words and names” (A. C. 64).
Of course, the interpretation and elucidation of the Word enters largely into the religious services of heaven. As previously stated, a copy of its sacred pages is enshrined in the centre of every temple (T. C. R. 209), and its language supplies themes for the joyful hymns in which the angels delight to glorify their Lord (T. C. R. 265). Many other particulars are recorded as to Divine worship in the other life. We are told, for instance, that the Lord's Prayer is there used daily, not with a thought of God the Father, because He is invisible, but of the Lord in His Divine Humanity (T. C. R. 113). J. P.
SHORT LESSONS FOR SIMPLE MINDS.-No. IV.
COL. iii. 2.
We are very apt to think that the command “Set your affections on things above" is intended to lead us to meditate on and desire the joys of heaven.
Such meditation and affection would, however, be fruitless in preparing us for eternal happiness, unless we were led by their means to reflect seriously that the joy of heaven can only be shared by those who have been “good and faithful servants” whilst in this world. We must then ask in a prayerful spirit what are the things above upon which we are told to set our affections, and we shall be helped in our endeavour to find them out by studying the revelations which the Holy Word contains as to the nature of heaven and the character of its inhabitants.
We are told that there is no night there; but that the Lord God and the Lamb is the light thereof, and that in Him is light and no darkness at all.
This then teaches us, that no dark thoughts, no designs which will not bear the daylight, no intentions to do evil to our neighbour, can find a place there, for He who is the light is also the truth, and when once the light of truth is let in upon our guilty thoughts and feelings, it will condemn them as unfit for heaven. Let all of us who cherish them remember, in doing so, we are not "setting our affections on things above." He that loveth or maketh a lie is shut out from heaven; then we may feel sure that the desire to deceive our fellow creatures does not come from above.
David, who speaks the Word of God, says “He that telleth lies shall not tarry in My sight," and we are also told that “all liars are an abomination to the Lord. He alone who speaketh the truth in his heart can " dwell in the holy place."
How important it is that we should find out those things on which we are told to set our affections.
Can the desire to obtain the goods of others, either by cunning or by violent measures raise the affections heavenward ? Surely not. Theft of every kind, whether of worldly possessions, of time, or of a good name, is forbidden in the Sacred Scriptures. The tendency to any form of this evil is a sure indication that we do not "love our neighbour as ourselves," or “ do to others as we would be done unto." “The righteous Lord loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.” We cannot become like the angels, who are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who are heirs of salvation, if by our conduct towards others we excite anger, revenge, ill-will, or any of the evils which lurk in the natural man, and are so easily aroused to activity, rather than endeavour to lure them on by our own gentleness, exercising severe self-scrutiny in regard to our own
conduct, regarding our own evils as a beam in the eye, and that of our neighbour as trifling motes in comparison.
We are too apt to use the truth we have learned as a dark lantern to reveal to us the evil doings of others rather than to turn the light in upon all the hidden and unswept corners of our own hearts; being far from the state of the Prophet, who says, “Thy words were found and I did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” We eat the Word of God when we live by it.
In the Sermon on the Mount, we are told that “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Let us then most especially try to cultivate purity,–let no loose thoughts, no sinful imaginations or desires, find any allowance within us, but let our prayer continually be, “Cleanse Thou me from secret faults.”
There is no sin, if unrepented of, so certainly shuts out all heavenly affection as profanity, whether of body or spirit. It can only be cured like the leprosy of Naaman, by dipping seven times in the river of Jordan, that is, by being so entirely cleansed of all impurities of the flesh and of the spirit, by the personal application of the truths of the Holy Word to our lives, that our “flesh shall come again to us as a little child," and we shall “ be born again.”
One of the “ things above” which we must learn to love, is a forgiving spirit. Oh! there is no gift so earnestly to be desired, no spiritual attainment which will bring us so near to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as a forgiving temper. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," was His last prayer, and in the prayer which He has taught us, He has reminded us daily by the petition, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,” that we can only hope for forgiveness as we forgive.
From this short sketch we see that uprightness and sincerity, purity, love to our neighbour, a peaceable temper, and a forgiving spirit, are among those things upon which we are taught to set our affections.
M. S. B.
I LOVE the Lark : midway 'twixt earth and sky,
As if an angel did stoop down from heaven,
At early morn, when nature wakes from sleep,
Thrice happy bird ! no vain corrosive thoughts
No gaudy Indian plumes needs my sweet bird ;
There, stretched at ease beneath the grateful shade
DAVID BAILEY. BILSTON,
A PRIMITIVE QUAKER.
“That Light which God now is, that same Light He ever was, and in that Light in which He now is and dwells, in that God was, and did dwell from everlasting : and, as the outward sun is not seen through any other natural light save that which shines from itself in the outward world; so God neither is, nor can be seen by means of any other spiritual light save that which shines from Himself into the inner world of men's hearts. And in that Light in which God doth now manifest Himself, in the same did He manifest Himself before time was."SAMUEL FISHER.
William DeWSBURY arrived at Quakerism without the aid of George Fox and his Friends. Singularly enough, across the Channel, about the same time, a peace-seeking Frenchwoman, Madame Bourignon, reached the same conclusions quite spontaneously;? while only a little later certain Scotsmen do the same thing,-meetings having been held at Drumbowy and Heads in 1653, “full a year before any in connexion with the Friends found them out." 2 The like doctrinal views soon brought all these people into the knowledge of one another. Dewsbury was led to undertake missionary labours almost immediately after he had quitted the army and its methods. He must have met with George Fox not long afterwards ; for we not only find that the Quakers in the North of England set up Meetings for Discipline in the year 1653, but we also learn that William Dewsbury, in this same year, wrote an important Epistle to Friends-George Fox signing it after Dewsbury had attached his own signature. The document was probably the first Code of Outward Law for the Society of Friends. A few points touched upon in it are worth notice, if only as displaying the Primitive Quaker at law-making-a task his favourite principle of immediate revelation from the Spirit could scarcely have made
See, for her Quaker-like Quietism, he ook, “ The Light of the World.” * Vide John Barclay's " Jaffray and the Friends in Scotland,” p. 229.